3 Main Types of Condensers, How Does it Work ? | Linquip (2023)

A condenser in simple terms is a cooling device. Every refrigeration system and power plant use condensers to condense refrigerant vapors or steam and is known as a heat rejector. Actually, it turns superheated and highly-pressurized vapor into a subcooled liquid. What is exactly a condenser? was discussed in another article titled “A condenser; Parts, Functions, and types”.

There are three types of condensers, depending on the condensing medium used to extract heat from the system. Neither of the three types of condensers has a distinct advantage over the others. Each should be utilized correctly depending on the scenario. In the next sections, we’ll go through the functions of these three different types of condensers. Condensers are available from a variety of Suppliers and Companies, as well as various manufacturers and distributors, and there are several Condensers for Sale on Linquip.

There is a complete selection of condenser services on the Linquip platform that meets all of your needs. Linquip can connect you with a number of condenser service suppliers and experts who can help you. Linquip can connect you with Condensers Specialists and subject matter experts who can help you test your equipment.

In this article, we have collected a pile of useful information about the types of condensers. Linquip is going to have you acquainted with the various condenser types in a full detailed context. So follow us in the next sections of this article.

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How Does a Condenser Work?

Before we get acquainted with the different types of condensers, let’s have a brief look at how a condenser works. Again, we have to mention that a full description of the section was devoted to the topic of functions of a condenser in another article. Just in case you haven’t read that article, we deliver a gist of how a condenser works to make it easier for you to understand what different types of this equipment are.

Three different phases happen in every condenser. The first phase is called the desuperheating. The vapor entering into the condenser is already superheated and super pressurized in the evaporator and compressor. Desuperheating means to eject the heat from the vapor and turns it into liquid. The next level is changing or condensation state; losing more heat continues in this state where we reach into 10% of refrigerant as vapor and 90% as a liquid. The third and last phase is a sub-cooling state. The sub-cooling state is there so as to be sure that not even rising temperatures can bring the liquid refrigerant into vapor again.

(Video) HVAC/R Condenser Basics

Now that you have a general insight into how a condenser works, we can move safely forward to the next sections where we are going to get familiar with types of condensers step by step.

3 Main Types of Condensers, How Does it Work ? | Linquip (2)

Three Main and Different Types of Condensers

  • Air-cooled condenser
    Natural Convection
    Forced Convection
  • Water-cooled condenser
    Double Tube
    Shell and Coil Condenser
    Shell and Tube Condenser
  • Evaporative Condenser

Condensers based on the condensing medium used to remove the heat from the system, include three different types. None of these three different types of condensers has particularly no advantages over the other. Depending on the situation, each one should be used appropriately. We are going to elaborate on the functions of these three condenser types in the following.

  1. Air-cooled Condenser

Condensers of this type use air as the external fluid to reject the heat from the system. Air-cooled condensers usually have copper coils where refrigerant flows in. But this is not the whole story; this type is subcategorized into two subsets: natural convection and forced convection.

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1.1. Natural Convection

In this type of condenser, air comes to contact with warm coils, absorbing the heat of refrigerant inside the coils, consequently the temperature of air increases. As the warm air is lighter, it goes up and the cold air replaces and again the cold air comes to touch warm coils to reject the heat. This natural cycle continues until the refrigerant loses its heat.

Since the flow rate of air is small and the radiation heat transfer is also not very high, the combined heat transfer coefficient in these condensers is small. As a result, a relatively large condensing surface is required to reject a given amount of heat. Hence these types of condensers are used for small capacity refrigeration systems like household refrigerators and freezers.

1.2. Forced Convection

One of the other types of condensers is forced-convection. A fan or a blower does play the most crucial role in removing heat from the refrigerant inside the coils. The fan blows the air into the finned coils. An important tip has to be noted here and it is that the fins of forced convection condenser are put tightly next to each other; so, if the dust and dirt fill the slight space between the fins, the air flowing and heat rejection faces big trouble.

Forced convection type condensers are commonly used in window air conditioners, water coolers, and packaged air conditioning plants.

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  1. Water-cooled condenser

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As it can be guessed, this type of condenser uses water as fluid to remove heat from the refrigerant. It is obvious that water-cooled condensers are used where we have an adequate supply of water. This type, itself has three different kinds:

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2.1. Double Tube

Double tube condensers have a tube of water inside a large refrigerant tube. The water absorbs most of the refrigerant heat, but as the refrigerant tube is in contact with the natural circulation of air, part of the cooling process is on natural convection. Although double-tube condensers commonly have been used in the past, the large number of gaskets and flanges used in these heat exchangers leads to maintenance problems.

2.2. Shell and Coil Condensers

In a shell-and-coil condenser, a welded shell contains a coil of finned water tubing. In this type of water-cooled condenser, the hot refrigerant flows in the shell while the cooling water circulates inside the coils and condenses the refrigerant. It is generally most compact and low in cost.

2.3. Shell and Tube Condensers

One of the types of condensers performs the process of rejecting heat by having a cylindrical shell consisting of water tubes. In a shell and tube condenser, water is pumped through the pipes while refrigerant flows in the shell. Installations of fins in pipes allows better heat transfer. The shell-and-tube condensers are generally low in cost and easy to maintain.

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The most common type of shell and tube condensers is the horizontal shell type. However, vertical shell and tube condensers are usually used with ammonia in large capacity systems so that cleaning of the tubes is possible from the top while the plant is running.

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  1. Evaporative Condensers

And finally, the last one of the types of condensers is the evaporative one. it is actually the mix of an air-cooled and water-cooled condenser. Evaporative condensers use air and water as the condensing medium. The condenser’s sump pumps the water to be sprayed over coils and simultaneously, a fan blows the air into the condenser. The sprayed water over coils evaporates and the required heat for the vaporizing water is taken from the heat of refrigerant. Some amount of water will be circulated by dropping into the sump but to make up the amount evaporated, an additional amount of water is added to the water supply of the sump.

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Evaporative condensers are used in places where water is scarce. Since water is used in a closed-loop, only a small part of the water evaporates. Make-up water is supplied to take care of the evaporative loss. The water consumption is typically very low, about 5 percent of the equivalent water-cooled condenser with a cooling tower. However, since the condenser has to be kept outside, this type of condenser requires a longer length of refrigerant tubing, which calls for larger refrigerant inventory and higher pressure drops.

A Brief Comparison between these three types

  • Evaporatives are often cheaper compared to water-cooled requiring a cooling tower.
  • Evaporatives are used in places where we usually encounter a water supply shortage.
  • Evaporatives are kept outside, so in cold seasons, the water pump is switched off so as to prevent freezing water.

Air-cooled condensers compared to water-cooled ones are simple in construction. Besides, access to air is always available. The maintenance cost of an air-cooled is low in comparison with a water-cooled.

Moreover, water-cooled types of condensers are more complex than air-cooled condensers as there are design considerations in water flow regulation and corrosion prevention. However, the advantages of water-cooled systems are that water has a higher exchange coefficient than air so heat transfer will be more efficient.



Knowing the types of condensers helps you have a better choice at the time of purchase. In this article we tried to inform you about the difference kinds of condensers, their unique functions, pros and cons.

If you have any experiences of using different types of condensers, or want to share your opinions about this topic to make this article a better source of information, feel free to write them down in comments. Experts in Linquip are ready to answer your various questions about condensers. So just sign up on our website and let us help you out.

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What are the three basic types of condensers? ›

Three main types of condensers, based on the way they cool the refrigerant, are mostly used in HVAC systems; air-cooled, water-cooled and evaporative.

What are the three functions of a condenser? ›

Condenser Function

As noted above, the three main functions of the condenser are condensing, desuperheating, and subcooling. Condensing is system dependent and usually takes place in the lower two-thirds of the condenser. One of the main functions of the condenser is to condense the refrigerant vapor to liquid.

What is the main function of the condenser How does it works? ›

The purpose of the condenser is to receive the high-pressure gas from the compressor and convert this gas to a liquid. It does it by heat transfer, or the principle that heat will always move from a warmer to a cooler substance.

How does a condenser works? ›

A condenser is an essential component within any HVAC system. Its purpose is to take in high-pressure refrigerant gas, emitted by the compressor, and convert it into liquid state. The refrigerant is cooled and then condenses at a virtually constant temperature and pressure.

What are the 4 types of condensers? ›

There are three types of condensers commonly used in vapour compression refrigeration system.
  • Air cooled condenser.
  • water cooled condenser.
  • Evaporative condenser.
Oct 18, 2012

What are the types of condensers? ›

Three main types are separated into:
  • Air-cooled condensers.
  • Water-cooled condensers.
  • Combined air and water-cooled condensers.

What 3 materials are condensers made of? ›

5 Condensers

The most common tube materials in a condenser are copper–nickel alloys, brass, titanium, stainless steel, and ferritic stainless steel. Pitting is the most common form of damage in condenser tubing.

What is a 3 phase condenser? ›

Three phase air conditioners require a three phase power supply and are generally used for models with larger heating/cooling capacity. Three phase electric power is a common method of alternating current electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.

What are the main parts of the condenser? ›

They are the condenser coil, evaporator, expansion valve, and compressor.

How does a condenser compressor work? ›


Refrigerant flows through the compressor, which raises the pressure of the refrigerant. Next the refrigerant flows through the condenser, where it condenses from vapor form to liquid form, giving off heat in the process.

What is condenser short answer? ›

A condenser is a device that cools gases into liquids.

What is the function of the condenser and where is it located? ›

A condenser is a glass lens or lens system located within or below the stage (sub-stage) on compound microscopes. Its basic function is to gather the light coming in from the illuminator and to concentrate that light into a light cone onto the specimen.

How does a water condenser work? ›

A Water-Cooled Condenser is a heat exchanger that removes heat from refrigerant vapour and transfers it to the water running through it. Having the refrigerant vapour condensed on the outside of a tube achieves this. In doing so, the vapour condenses and gives up heat to the water running inside the tube.

How does a cooling condenser work? ›

Condenser: The condenser is a set of coils, also located inside the outdoor unit. Here, a fan blows across the coils, dissipating the heat from the refrigerant inside them and allowing it to convert back into a liquid, at which point it's sent back inside to start the process over again.

How are condensers classified and explain the working cycle? ›

In high level jet condensers, the condensate falls to the hot well by the barometric leg provided in the condenser. Condensers are classified as follows: In jet condensers which is to be condensed. In surface conden the steam which is to be condens In parallel flow the same direction.

How do condenser coils work? ›

The Role of the Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is also made of copper and holds the refrigerant in its liquid form. The compressor increases pressure on the gas. This causes the gas to condense into a liquid state. As the refrigerant changes into its liquid state, the refrigerant releases the heat that it contains.

What are the 3 main parts of the entire HVAC system? ›

  • Heating. The heating element usually consists of a furnace or boiler in most residential HVAC systems. ...
  • Ventilation. An HVAC's ventilation mechanism is responsible for moving heated or cooled air in and out of your home. ...
  • Air Conditioning. This part of an HVAC system is what cools down the air inside your home.

What are the three 3 main cycle used in a centralized air conditioning system? ›

A standard air conditioner or cooling system uses a specialized chemical called refrigerant, and has three main mechanical components: a compressor, a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. These components work together to quickly convert the refrigerant from gas to liquid and back again.

What are the 3 types of evaporator styles used in the air conditioning industry? ›

There are four main types of evaporators.
  • Bare Tube Evaporators,
  • Plate Surface Evaporators,
  • Finned Tube Evaporators, and.
  • Shell and Tube Evaporators.
Jun 29, 2021

What is a condenser in HVAC? ›

A condenser (or AC condenser) is the outdoor portion of an air conditioner or heat pump that either releases or collects heat, depending on the time of the year. Both split air conditioner and heat pump condensers are made of the same basic parts.

How are condensers classified? ›

The condenser is classified into two types, like based on there flow of direction (parallel flow, cross flow, and counter flow) and based on cooling action (Jet type & Surface condenser or non-mixing type).

Why are condensers used? ›

Condensers are employed in power plants to condense exhaust steam from turbines and in refrigeration plants to condense refrigerant vapours, such as ammonia and fluorinated hydrocarbons. The petroleum and chemical industries employ condensers for the condensation of hydrocarbons and other chemical vapours.

Why are condensers important? ›

Condenser is included in cooling systems such as a air conditioning in cars and buildings, and freezers. It helps ventilate the heat of the vapour refrigerant at high temperature and pressure. Its purpose is to condense the heat out while maintaining the same level of pressure.

What is the simplest type of condenser? ›

The simplest form of condenser is the concave mirror, but this is not useful for objectives above NA 0.2 or so. If your microscope has a mirror and a remote light source, the flat side of the mirror must be used in conjunction with any substage condenser fitted.

What is 3-phase and how it works? ›

Three-phase power can be defined as the common method of alternating current power generation, transmission, and distribution. It is a type of polyphase system and is the most common method used by electric grids worldwide to transfer power.

How does a 3-phase compressor work? ›

A 3 phase compressor is an air-conditioning machine that produces energy to attach air devices, such as grinders or nail weapons, in the storage tank. It has three different power windings inside one motor housing to create a steady power supply to the 3 phase air compressor.

What are the 3 types of three-phase motor? ›

Three-phase AC motors can be divided into three general types: squirrel-cage, wound-rotor and synchronous.

How does a condenser heat pump work? ›

Air is blown over an evaporator coil, transferring heat energy from the air to the refrigerant. That heat energy is circulated in the refrigerant to a condenser coil, where it is released as a fan blows air across the coil. Through this process, heat is pumped from one place to another.

Is condenser heating or cooling? ›

An HVAC condenser is another term used to describe either an air conditioner or heat pump. To cool your home, a condenser removes heat from indoor air. To heat your home, it brings natural warmth from outdoor air inside your home.

Do condensers reduce pressure? ›

Temperature profile inside the condenser

In a similar way to evaporation, the only pressure difference between the entrance and the exit of the heat exchanger is the pressure drop. Because the flow velocity in a condenser decreases, the induced pressure drop is much lower than in an evaporator.

What is a condenser quizlet? ›

What is the purpose of a condenser? The purpose of a condenser coil is to reject unwanted heat from a refrigeration or air conditioning system. It does this by condensing the high pressure, high temperature gas to a liquid.

Why is it called a condenser? ›

The capacitor was initially known as a condenser. The term “condensor” was associated with it because it was supposed to condense electric charge. The charge it could hold at a rated voltage was known as “capacity.” This term was in use till about 1960s.

Is the condenser outside or inside? ›

The condenser coil is the outdoor AC unit. It is in this unit that the refrigerant releases heat from your indoor space.

How does a steam condenser work? ›

A steam condenser is a mechanical device employed to condense exhaust steam of the turbine into the water. It conducts this process with the help of cooling water that circulates inside it from the cooling tower. The pressure within a steam condenser is held below the atmospheric pressure to enhance efficiency.

How does condenser flooding work? ›

With flooded condenser controls, some of the condenser surface is flooded with liquid at all times. The flow of condensate from the condenser is directly or indirectly manipulated to vary the flooded area. Little heat transfer takes place in the flooded regions, as heat is transferred by sensible heat exchange only.

How is condenser water-cooled? ›

Management of Heating and Cooling

The condensers are usually shell and tube heat exchangers, with refrigerant circulating through the shell and cooling water flowing through the tubes. Condenser water pumps circulate the hot condenser water to the cooling tower where it is cooled by air.

How does a condenser remove heat? ›

A condenser is a device or unit used to condense a gaseous substance into a liquid state through cooling. In so doing, the latent heat is released by the substance and transferred to the surrounding environment.

What are various types of condensers write their functions & applications? ›

Generally, the condenser can be divided into 3 types:
  • Air cooled Condenser. Air-cooled condenser is used to cool down heat of the refrigerant to condensate the refrigerant from the gaseous state into a liquid refrigerant. ...
  • Water cooled Condenser. ...
  • Evaporative Condenser.
May 19, 2022

How do evaporator and condenser coils work? ›

While the evaporator coil picks up heat from indoor air, the condenser coil releases heat into outdoor air. The load of heat energy extracted from your home and compressed in hot refrigerant vapor is rapidly released when refrigerant circulates into the coil and condenses to liquid.

What is an AC condenser motor? ›

Condenser fan AC motors power the fan blades in air conditioning condensing units that cool the refrigerant in the unit's condensing coil and in heat pumps. They are commonly used to replace damaged condenser fan motors in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

What is compressor condenser and evaporator? ›

The Condenser

The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant, turning it into a hot, high-pressure gas. This gas leaves the compressor and flows into the condenser coils. This is where the refrigerant releases much of the heat that was absorbed in the evaporator.

What does 3 phase mean in HVAC? ›

Three-phase power is a three-wire ac power circuit with each phase ac signal 120 electrical degrees apart. Residential homes are usually served by a single-phase power supply, while commercial and industrial facilities usually use a three-phase supply.

What are the three types of AC compressors? ›

There are several types of air conditioner compressors, including a rotary, reciprocating, scroll and variable speed compressor. Each system goes with a different kind of air conditioner as the system's driving force.

What are the 3 common pressure scale types we use in refrigeration and air conditioning? ›

The three most popular gauges are High Pressure Gauges, Vacuum Gauges and Compound Gauges.
  • High Pressure Gauges with scale range from 0 to 500 psi is used to measure the high-pressure side of the refrigerating system. ...
  • Vacuum Gauges measure pressures that are lower than the atmospheric pressure.

Which type of condenser is best? ›

A Brief Comparison between these three types

Air-cooled condensers compared to water-cooled ones are simple in construction. Besides, access to air is always available. The maintenance cost of an air-cooled is low in comparison with a water-cooled.

What is the difference between HVAC compressor and condenser? ›

An AC condenser releases heat that the refrigerant has removed from the home's air. The condenser is the main unit located outside the home. It resembles a box encased in thin metal fins. The compressor removes heat from refrigerant vapor, turning the refrigerant back to a liquid as it cools.

What are the types of laboratory condensers? ›

The two most common types of chemistry condensers are distillation and reflux. The condenser required differs based on this application: distillation condensers separate the condensed liquid into a separate vessel, while reflux condensers create a loop by returning the condensate to the original heated liquid.

What are the main components in AC and how do they work? ›

An air conditioner is made up of many components, but the major parts doing the heavy lifting of moving the air indoors and outdoors are the evaporator, condenser, expansion valve, and compressor. Keep in mind they're each either located outside (the hot side) or inside (the cool side).

How does a 3 phase AC compressor work? ›

The 3 phase air compressor function is simply similar to single-phase compressors. Until the storage tank is densely filled with air molecules, the engine forces the compressor into the machine outside the air. A user adds a compressed air to the unit and rushes it into the device for mechanical motion.

How does a laboratory condenser work? ›

Condensers are used in the reflux process, where hot solvent vapours from a heated liquid are cooled down and again dripped back into the reaction. This simply reduces the solvent loss by allowing the mixture to heat up for a longer period.


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